On the Road with Francis of Assisi by Linda Bird Francke.


This loan from Mary Susan was a trip through Umbria and Tuscany. The
author recounts the story of Francis of Assisi by retracing his
considerable travels, not just in the hill towns of Italy, but his trip
to Egypt during the fifth crusade. So you hear the story of his
conversion, creation of a new Rule, administering and losing control of
a new order, his vigils and fasts, and countless miracles, all
connected to geographic locations. And you hear about the struggle of
finding the sometimes hidden shrines and hermitages, and what they look
like now. I was especially surprised by the excitement expressed by the
author at being where Francis had been, touching what he had touched. I
found it hard to imagine the devotion felt by those who encountered
Francis. While he talked about joy, his joy seemed too often to come in
the form of self denial. Ashes in your food! Phooey. What would Ruth
Reichl say!

Later….I thought I was finished, but no. Women
were called "honeyed poison" by Francis. He said in an early Rule that
according to the Lord, "Anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has
already committed adultery with her in his heart." It makes no sense
for someone able to see all of the creatures in the world in a new
light, i.e. calling the wild wolf, "Brother Wolf", to view other humans
and their natural desires as worthless, or worse, unless they devote
all their passion to his view of worshiping God.

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